Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Metro School Board Defies State on Great Hearts Charter Application

Posted By on Wed, Aug 15, 2012 at 8:55 AM

In what by all accounts was a charged atmosphere last night, the Metro Nashville school board voted 7-2 to defer on Great Hearts Academy's charter application, even though they had been ordered by the state to approve it. From Joey Garrison's report at The City Paper:

Tuesday’s meeting marked the latest — and unexpected — twist in the months-long saga of Great Hearts, a charter organization that arrived in Nashville following an ardent push from West Nashville parents looking for more options beyond struggling zoned schools, academic magnets with long wait lists and expensive private schools.

Great Hearts has attracted a vocal contingent of politically connected supporters, including Mayor Karl Dean who urged the state board to overturn Metro’s prior Great Hearts denials.

Kindall, an African-American board member raised in segregated Nashville, made the motion to defer the proposal indefinitely. He delivered a 10-minute speech in which he said he’s troubled Metro is still having a debate over diversity 60 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

“The organization [Great Hearts] is consciously and purposely limiting transportation with full knowledge that this will create a nearly all white, affluent school in the West Nashville area,” Kindall said.

He called out Great Hearts’ affluent backers who made major financial plays during the recently concluded school board elections: “Don’t use money to stack boards. Use it to line up buses.”

Kindall also questioned whether the state board of education and its director Gary Nixon sufficiently studied Great Hearts’ proposal. The state board overturned Metro in July after just 18 minutes of public debate, he pointed out.

A Storify rendering of Garrison's tweets, which provides a linear, a blow-by-blow timeline of the meeting, follows below:

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